Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states.

Education

How Are States Measuring Student Growth Under ESSA?

By Alyson Klein — January 23, 2019 1 min read

Almost every state is rating schools in part on student growth in test-scores under the Every Student Succeeds Act. (The exceptions: California and Kansas). But that doesn’t look the same everywhere and the differences matter to parents and policymakers, says the Data Quality Campaign, a research and advocacy organization.

So what are the different types of “growth models” and who is using what? The DQC breaks it down in a report entitled “Growth Data: It Matters, and It’s Complicated” for those of us who aren’t psychometricians.


  • The most popular measure is a “student growth percentile.” It essentially tells parents and policymakers how schools served different kids who started at about the same academic level.
  • Twelve states use a “value table” which gives a measure of student progress. It shows whether kids moved from the “basic” to “proficient” level on state tests.
  • Ten states are using a “growth to standard measure” which gives a picture of how far on, off-track, students are from where they are supposed to be at this point in their education. It can also give a sense of how long it will take the student to catch up (meaning reach the “proficient” level).
  • Eight states have chosen “value-added” measures which shows the impact of teachers and other adults in the school on student achievement.
  • Three states have a “gain score measure” which looks at how much students have improved from one year to the next.
  • Three states have gone with less common measures that aren’t easy to classify.
  • And ten states are using a combination of measures.

Who’s doing what? Check out this map from the DQC report.

Want to learn more about the Every Student Succeeds Act? Here’s some useful information:

Follow us on Twitter at @PoliticsK12.